United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
ORDER GRANTING IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS AND
JEFFREY VIKEN CHIEF JUDGE
August 8, 2018, plaintiff Blake Barber, appearing pro
se, filed a complaint against the Pennington County
Jail. (Dockets 1 & 5). Plaintiff moved for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis and provided the court with his
financial information. (Dockets 2 & 3). Section 1915 of Title
28 of the United States Code, as amended by the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), governs
proceedings filed in forma pauperis. When a prisoner
files a civil action in forma pauperis, the PLRA
requires a prisoner to pay an initial partial filing fee when
possible. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The
initial partial filing fee is calculated according to §
1915(b)(1), which requires a payment of 20 percent of the
(A) the average monthly deposits to the prisoner's
(B) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account
for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of
the complaint or notice of appeal.
support of his motion, Mr. Barber provided copies of his
prisoner trust account report signed by an authorized
official. (Docket 3). The report shows an average monthly
deposit of $4.17, an average monthly balance of $2.08, and a
current balance of $0.01. Id. Based on this
information, the court finds Mr. Barber is indigent,
qualifies for in forma pauperis status and is not
required to make an initial partial filing fee payment. These
findings do not discharge the $350 filing fee but rather
allow a prisoner the opportunity to pay the filing fee in
installments. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
(“[I]f a prisoner brings a civil action or files an
appeal in forma pauperis, the prisoner shall be required to
pay the full amount of the filing fee.”).
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review a prisoner
complaint and identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. This screening
process “applies to all civil complaints filed by [a]
prisoner, regardless of payment of [the] filing fee.”
Lewis v. Estes, 242 F.3d 375 at *1 (8th Cir. 2000)
(unpublished) (citing Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115,
116 (2d Cir. 1999)). During this initial screening process,
the court must dismiss the complaint in its entirety or in
part if the complaint is “frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted” or “seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
court may dismiss a complaint under §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a
claim as “the statute accords judges not only the
authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce
the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and
dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly
baseless.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
Mr. Barber is proceeding pro se, his pleading must
be liberally construed and his complaint, “however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted). Even with this construction,
“a pro se complaint must contain specific facts
supporting its conclusions.” Martin v.
Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985); Ellis
v. City of Minneapolis, 518 Fed.Appx. 502, 504 (8th Cir.
2013). Civil rights complaints cannot be merely conclusory.
Davis v. Hall, 992 F.2d 151, 152 (8th Cir. 1993);
Parker v. Porter, 221 Fed.Appx. 481, 482 (8th Cir.
Barber names the Pennington County Jail as the defendant in
this case. (Dockets 1 & 5). “[C]ounty jails are not
legal entities amenable to suit.” Owens v. Scott
County Jail, 328 F.3d 1026, 1027 (8th Cir. 2003). Mr.
Barber's claim against the Pennington County Jail is
dismissed, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1), for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
on the analysis above, it is
that Mr. Barber's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis (Docket 2) is granted.
FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(2), the institution having custody of Mr. Barber
shall, whenever the amount in Mr. Barber's inmate account
exceeds $10, forward monthly payments that equal 20 percent
of the funds credited to the account the preceding month to
the Clerk of Court for the United States District Court,
District of South Dakota, until the $350 filing fee is paid
FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1), Mr. Barber's complaint
(Docket 1) is dismissed without prejudice for failure ...